Abstracts of the Landscape

Landscapes are the most popular subjects  for outdoor photographers. As an art form, they can be approached in many different ways.

There are three styles of landscape photography – realist or the traditional approach, impressionistic and abstract.

The realist approach is strictly documentary in nature which portrays scenery in its realistic state with no manipulation by the photographer.

The impressionistic style employs techniques that make a landscape photograph appear more unreal with an illusion or impression of a landscape rather than showing it as it appears in reality.

The creation of an abstract can be thought of as a subtractive process where the artist removes content from the composition. Abstract landscape photographs are composed so the scene is broken down to its basic graphic elements such as form,  shape, pattern, texture and color. Natural elements are rendered so they are almost unrecognizable. The success of an effective abstract depends entirely on strong composition and artistic design.

In my opinion, the most challenging and enjoyable landscape photographs to create are abstracts.

To create effective abstracts it’s important to keep the following points in mind:

1. Crop into the scene and eliminate all references to the horizon

2. Use short and medium focal length close focusing zoom lenses or prime lenses in the range of 28-70, 70-200mm or 70-300mm

3. Seek out scenes with strong graphical elements where just a few colors dominate

4. Experiment with different apertures to vary depth of field and shutter speeds to slow (blur) or freeze (stop) subject movement

6. Lighting is critical; work early and late in the day or in light overcast conditions

7. Use a tripod to guarantee the sharpest results possible

8. Be creative and shoot a lot of images

Photo Details: Geyser Abstracts, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Copyright- Adam Turow

Camera: Nikon F100; Lens: Nikon 35mm f2.0; Shutter Speed: 1/125; Aperture: f 11; Film: Kodak E100SW



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